Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 8242 / Phi

Posted by duncanshiell on March 15th, 2013


This was another fine puzzle from Phi that ranged over a wide range of general knowledge.




There were quite a few references to, and use of the French language – PIÈCES D’OCCASION at 10 across, ÉTUDES at 17 across and use of ÉTE [summer] in the word play for ÉTUDES.  I think SOBRIQUET (11 across) has strong French connections as well.

All the fifteen letter entries were anagrams or substantial part anagrams (5 down),  I got BALEARIC ISLANDS (24 across) and BE-ALL AND END-ALL quickly, but the other two took quite a while longer.

There was a nod to the indoor games fraternity with CRIBBAGE (3 across) and Bridge featuring in answers and clues.

I smiled at the reverse engineeered wordplay for ROCKETRY (25 across).

No. Clue Wordplay Entry



Commotion‘s still on the cards? (2-2)


TO DO (reference a ‘TO DO list’ which summarises things that should be done but are not yet done [still on the cards])


TO-DO (commotion)




Game: steal quantity of game before end of chase (8)


CRIB (steal [another’s work]) + BAG (to put game into a sack or other container) +  E (last letter of [end of] CHASE)


CRIBBAGE (card game)




Celebratory cantatas, say, end in style in splashy epic sonic codas (6,9)

E (last letter of [end in] STYLE) contained in (in) an anagram of (splashy) EPIC SONIC CODAS


PIÈCES D’OCCASION (literary or musical works composed, prepared, or used for a special occasion; celebratory cantatas would fit the bill)




Queen engaged in endless abstinence, one’s assumed (9)


QU (queen) contained in (engaged in) (SOBRIETY [the state of being sober; abstinence] excluding the final letter [endless] Y)


SOBRIQUET (an assumed name; one’s assumed)




Daughter abandoning city’s worst part (4)


LEEDS (city in England) excluding (abandoning) D (daughter)


LEES (sediment that forms during the fermentation or aging of an alcoholic liquor, eg wine; the worst part or parts.




Consider again: is chosen person fronted by minister? (7)


REV (reverend; minister) + IS IT (is the chosen person)


REVISIT (consider again)




Article that’s almost useless about a plant (6)


AN + ([NULL {having no significance;useless} excluding the last letter {almost} L] containing [about] A)

AN (NU (A) L)

ANNUAL (a plant that lives for one year only)




French studies University Dean’s opening in summers at Nice (6)


(U [University] + D [first letter of [opening] DEAN) contained in (in) (ÉTÉ [French {Nice} word for summer] + S [in the plural])

ET (U D) E S

ÉTUDES (compositions intended either to train or to test the player’s technical skill.; studies)




Seek to persuade our group about notice given by lecturer (7)


WE (our group) containing (about) (HEED [observe; notice] + L [lecturer])


WHEEDLE (entice by soft words; seek to persuade)




Car fuel returned after Member’s intervention (4)


(M [member] contained in [intervention] OIL [fuel]) all reversed (returned)

(LI (M) O)<

LIMO (limousine; car)




Contract‘s attractive, involving African currency (5,4)


GLAM (glamorous; attractive) containing (involving) RANDS (units of currency in South Africa)


GRAND SLAM (contract to win every trick in the card game of Bridge)




Clear sands? I bail out for holiday areas (8,7)


Anagram of (out) CLEAR SANDS I BAIL


BALEARIC ISLANDS (Spanish archipelago containing the resort islands of Majorca, Minorca and Ibiza; holiday areas)




NASA’s expertise producing tyre? (8)


ROCK ETRY (if you interpret ROCK as an anagram indicator and ETRY as the anagram fodder, one of the results [producing] will be TYRE)


ROCKETRY (NASA’s [National Aeronautics and Space Administration] expertise)




Bottom?  Among the losers, on reflection (4)


SOLE (hidden word [among] reversed [on reflection] in THE LOSERS)


SOLE (bottom of a boot or shoe)





Bindings test textile (8)


TAPES (bindings) + TRY (test)


TAPESTRY (ornamental textile)




Measure of sound enthralling little techie bore? (5)


DB (decibel; measure of sound level) containing (enthralling) WEE (little)


DWEEB (nerd knowledgeable in computer terminology; techie bore)




Cheese about to be brought into wild party leading to cheers (7)


(C [circa; about] contained in [to be brought into] RIOT [wild party]) + TA (thankyou; cheers)


RICOTTA (type of soft Italian curd cheese)




Target mistakenly enabled, all around country (2-3,3,3-3)


Anagram of (mistakenly) ENABLED ALL containing (around) LAND (country)


BE-ALL AND END-ALL (supreme aim; target)




Vermin gathering under a hair ribbon (5,4)


A + LICE (parasitic insects; vermin) + BAND (group of people; gathering)


ALICE BAND (a wide hairband of coloured ribbon or other material)




Girl with energy, climbing (4)


(AND [with] + E [energy]) reversed (climbing; down clue)

(E DNA)<

EDNA (girl’s name)


8 Shifty coves validated?  Not if I have my way! (6,8) Anagram of (shifty) COVES VALIDATED

DEVIL’S ADVOCATE (advocatus diaboli, the Promoter of the Faith, an advocate at the papal court whose duty it is to propose objections against a canonization; a person who states the case against a proposal, course of action, etc, usually for the sake of argument; someone unlikely to validate shifty coves, at least initially)



Judge involved in a grave change (6)


J (judge) contained in (involved in) (A + DUST [the grave])


ADJUST (change)




Six, then three left, I see – that’s harsh (9)


VI (roman numerals for six) + TRIO (three) + L (left) + I + C (the letter see)


VITRIOLIC (biting; scathing; harsh)




Get out of my view, I need to think (3,23)


LET ME SEE (get out of view)


LET ME SEE (a phrase employed to express reflectionI need to think)  double definition




Big hitter bags single, misses 50 – that’s not so spirited (7)


(SLOGGER [big hitter] excluding [misses] L [roman numeral for 50]) containing (bags) I (one; single)


SOGGIER (not so spirited)




A lot of suspicion about a tense hypothetical question (4,2)


WHIFF (suspicion) excluding the last letter (a lot of) containing (about) (A + T [tense])


WHAT IF? (an example of a hypothetical question)




Curtailed sequence of words to work in language (5)


LINE ( a sequence of words) excluding the last letter (curtailed) E + GO (work)


LINGO (language)




Each goes from café to get access to slopes (1-3)


TEA BAR (café) excluding (goes from) EA (each)


T-BAR (type of ski-lift used to gain access to the [ski] slopes)



10 Responses to “Independent 8242 / Phi”

  1. Ian SW3 says:

    Thanks, Duncan, for the blog and Phi, for the enjoyable puzzle.

    To me, SLOGGER only means “drudge,” while a “big hitter” is a SLUGGER, though no doubt there is a dictionary to contradict me. As it happened, all that occurred to me was SLAGGER, which might in a pinch suggest a hitter in the sense of detractor. So I entered SAGGIER, which is how I feel.

  2. Thomas99 says:

    They don’t play cricket in SW3?

  3. Ian SW3 says:

    Having been raised abroad where cricket was unknown, I tried to figure it out once by reading the rules but ended up more confused than before.

  4. sidey says:

    The rules of cricket have to be absorbed gradually over many years Ian. Even then most people are never quite sure.

    There’s never much to say about a Phi really, I hope he doesn’t think we don’t appreciate him.

  5. Bertandjoyce says:

    We really do appreciate Phi – always beautifully clued. We look forward to Fridays and often spend ages afterwards looking for a hidden theme or nina. We often miss them when they are there and carry on searching when none are present.

    We hadn’t come across DUST before for ‘grave’ and needed all the checking letters but it couldn’t be anything else.

    We can’t see any theme – we did wonder whether it would be a musical one when we had ‘ETUDES’ and PIECES D’OCCASSION) but cannot find any others.

    There’s a Carole KIng song called “TAPESTRY” but then we really would be clutching at straws!!

    Thanks Phi and Duncan.

  6. Thomas99 says:

    Perhaps I should have been more clear @1 that to slog means to hit the ball hard but inelegantly in cricket. The surface of the clue is about cricket too, making British (and Aus/NZ/WI etc.) solvers even more likely to arrive at “slogger” before “slugger” or “slagger”. As an English child I knew slog meant whack years before I came across the other usage. Chambers has the meanings that way round too – but without numeration, which means the “work hard” meaning is secondary to and presumably derived from the cricketing/hitting one.

  7. Dormouse says:

    I, too, thought of “slugger” first for 18dn, but that’s possibly because I watch baseball as much as I watch cricket.

    Couldn’t parse 19ac, but that turns out to be because I can’t spell “wheedle”. (I had “wheadle”.)

    Just about the right level today after yesterday’s, which almost completely defeated me.

  8. Kathryn's Dad says:

    It’s funny, I did eventually manage yesterday’s after a struggle, but this one also just about beat me. I think some of the definitions are a bit left-field (‘dust’, SOGGIER, LEES) and it didn’t help that having a busy day I had to have two goes at it. That always for some reason snookers me. But BE-ALL AND END-ALL was another bizarre crossword solving experience: I had some crossers but hadn’t worked out what the definition was, then gave up. But on the way to work, thinking about nothing in particular, the answer popped into my head. Why does that happen?

    Anyway, thanks to Duncan and Phi. And by the way, gentlemen, cricket doesn’t have rules. It has laws. Please be aware of this important fact in any future contributions you make about our summer game. Thank you and good weekend to all.

  9. pennes says:

    Nice crossword as usual from Phi
    More a general observation on crosswords rather than specifically this one, but it bothers me that words such as d’occasion are really two words: clueing “pieces d’occasion” as 6,1,8 seems fairer to the solver. it doesn’t come up often but I think words like this are generally teated as one word aren’t they?

  10. Graham Pellen says:

    In 17A, the answer in duncanshiell’s blog should show the last letter – “s” – in the same colour as the “ete” (I have no access to accent aigu on this keyboard). The clue says “summers at Nice” so that is simply “etes”. There is no reason to split it up into “ete” and then add an “s”. The clue instructs that it is summers, plural.

    Thanks to Kathryn’s Dad for the distinction about laws, rather than rules, of cricket.

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